Barriers to adolescent Contraceptive techniques


 

I was lecturing an adult class on contraceptive practice and some of my students were of the opinion that adolescents should not be educated about the use of contraceptive.  I tried to understand their point of which the main reason was that educating a teen on contraceptive options and techniques will make him/her to get more promiscuous. I know u think so too but hey!!! Come and let’s reason together. This write up will try to analyse why contraceptive techniques are important knowledge for our youths.

In the African society discoursing  sex with our kids is “unethical ” and a perverse  idea. Our religion forbids sexual communication and frowns at the idea of contraceptive use. Our minds are now so rigid to this idea that we seem to forget that nature keeps playing its part no matter what we think or do.

As one grows up, hormones begin  to play on him/ her. Psychologists like Sigmund Freud propounded that during the adolescent years, one tends to get attracted to the opposite sex and derives gratification from his/her genitals. That is to say the pleasure seeking human may  need penal or vaginal stimulation to get some gratification.

 

As we develop, our body itself prepares us for sexual activity. For girls, there is breast enlargement, lips get bigger and so does the vagina, hips get round, skin becomes smoother, butts get bigger given her a much sexy and mesmerizing look to the opposite sex.  For guys, voice becomes thicker, chest broader, penile enlargement and more lean firm muscles develop. These characteristics become attractive to the opposite sex. By this age Pheromones which are believed to play a role in sexual attraction between people is on the increase.  The gonadal hormones are continually being secreted preparing the human for sexual activity.
Culture, religion, politics and other societal influences may influence our behavior but just to some extent when it comes to certain aspects. I will base my discussion on Frueds theory of personality. The great Freud described the psychic in three parts:  the Id, ego and superego.

 

The id is the instinctive, primitive and selfish component of personality. It consists of all the inherited (i.e., biological) components of personality present at birth, including the sex (life) instinct – Eros (which contains the libido), and the aggressive instinct. It is an instinctive part of the psyche which operates on the pleasure principle. This part of our psyche remains infantile throughout life and doesn’t change with experience or maturity. That is to say, there is something in each human that makes him selfish and pushes him to self-satisfaction. The id engages in primary thinking process, which is primitive, illogical, irrational, and fantasy oriented. The ego Is simply the part of the id which has been modified by the external world which operates according to realistic principle. The super- ego incorporates   the values and morals of society which are learnt from significant others. It’s basically what reminds you of what you do/ did wrong or right. It’s the judge of our conscience.

If we understand this theory, we will realize there are some instinct we can’t control. The id is at work. Sexual instinct is one of these. I am not saying we should leave the beast instinct to take over our being, but sometimes we can’t fight it.

 

It’s only natural for our teenagers to feel sexually attracted. As guardians, educating them is the right thing to do. Creating awareness is a strong weapon to fighting promiscuity reducing the incidence of STI / HiV , teenage pregnancy and abortion .

I know some of you may be of an opposite opinion but come to think of it, 90% our teens out there are in a relationship. Judging from the trends on social media, most of them engaged in sexual activities. Our youths believe sex is a solid way to seal a relationship. However parents may know this but just leave in denial.

 

According to data of the World Health Organization, more than 16 million girls from 15 to 19 years old are becoming mothers and 2 million of even younger teenagers give births yearly. Over 33 abortions per 1,000 and over 3.17% of HIV infection occur among teens in Nigeria. This is such a large number. Could this affected teens be educated on contraceptive  techniques, the rate affected would have been much smaller.  Have you ever ask yourself why rate of abortion, HIV, teenage pregnancy is lower in more developed countries?  The reasons is simple, adolescent are more educated and aware about issues of sexuality and can make informed choices.

Our culture, religion and rigid minds are putting our innocent teens at risk. Let’s get them educated.

 

By Atenchong Ngwibete Menakaya

 


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